In and out of control: Learning games differently


  • Suzanne de Castell Simon Fraser University
  • Lorna Boschman Simon Fraser University
  • Jennifer Jenson York University


In this paper we make use of the theoretical resources of actor network theory as a ‘frame’ within which to organize video data we have been collecting on playing, and more specifically, on girls learning to play, digital games. Through a microanalysis of interaction, we closely examine intersecting trajectories of control -- self, other, and technology -- within the context of game play. Using MAP, a software program that supports multimodal analysis, we offer an illustrated account of the microgenesis of competence in collaborative, technologically-supported gameplay, drawing attention to developmentally significant behavioural regularities which, because they are embodied and not necessarily cognitive-linguistic in character, have not typically been evidenced in research on collaborative learning. A particular contribution of this paper is its study of group play, a relatively under-studied topic in gameplay research, and a perspective that has allowed us to look specifically at the phenomenon of the distributed development of competence central to learning in and through collaborative play.